8th Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum
The theme of this year’s Youth Forum was Youth: Empowered, Included and Equal. It took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Over the 8th and 9th of April 2019 YMCA Swansea joined the YMCA World Alliance delegation to attend the 8th Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum.
The two days of the Forum focused on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), you can learn more about them by clicking the link *here* The SDGs will be reviewed during the July High-Level Political Forum.
SDGs discussed during the Forum included:
- SDG4 – Quality education
- SDG8 – Inclusive growth and decent work
- SDG10 – Inequalities
- SDG13 – Climate action
- SDG16 – Peaceful societies and robust institutions
- SDG17 – Means of implementation
These SDGs are critically important for young people to be empowered, included and equal. The Forum was a platform for young people to engage in a dialogue with Ministers, other senior officials from Member Sates and the President of the General Assembly. This was also an opportunity for major global youth organisations to share ideas on how to support young people and their communities.
The Forum raised concerns about different challenges faced by different communities of young people around the world and discussed potential solutions. Statistics indicate there are over 1.4 billion young people, 260 million of those are not receiving qualityl education, 64 million are not in employment, 45 million are working in poverty and 600 million live in conflict zones, it is our duty as countries, youth organisations and individuals to work together to provide sustainable future for all young people where they feel empowered, included and equal.
Secretary General of the World Alliance of YMCAs Carlos Madjri Sanvee challenged the Forum to collaborate with youth organisations to tackle the challenges faced by the young people across the world.
Climate Action (SDG13) has recently received a lot of publicity over TV channels and social medias as young people take over the streets in cities across the world to encourage governments to take real action to prevent climate change and ensure there is a safe and sustainable future for all. It is essential for young people to be involved in any decisions made that will affect their future, ECOSOC Forum 2019 also encouraged governments to provide local and national platforms for young people to be a part of any decision making, for example having a Youth Parliament.
The Forum discussed the importance of providing Quality Education (SDG4) for young people in order to not only prepare them for the working marker, but also prepare them for life. Young people are three times more likely to be unemployed, it is essential to provide information and support to young people during their time in education to ensure they are aware of the labour market, so that they have an understanding of what is required to secure employment. It is also extremely essential to provide safe and secure job opportunities for young people, supporting young peoples personal and professional development (SDG8).
The Forum encouraged education institutions to provide quality education to all young people to provide them with the necessary knowledge to be respectable global citizens, this includes implementing climate change education in schools. A powerful speech by Yolanda Joab requested the Forum to not wait for climate change to affect them personally to take action, but to take action now to prevent it.
The overall message of the Forum was for all participants to stand up for young people with young people and to find ways to work together with young people, so they can transform the world. Young people are our future so they need to be given a safe space to discuss any concerns today to help us build a sustainable future.
The experiences in this article were kindly shared with us by Egija from YMCA Swansea. To find out more about YMCA Swansea, learn about the great projects they run and amazing opportunities offered to the young people they work with, you can follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook and check out their website *here*.